Recipe and Photos updated April 2019. These cinnamon rolls are free of dairy, eggs, and refined sugar and made in under an hour using instant yeast. Overnight instructions included.
There’s nothing like the aroma of bread baking in the oven. Yeast, flour, sugar, and milk come together to make such a delicious creation. Cinnamon rolls are the occasional treat we like to make on days we feel like splurging. Christmas morning, birthdays, or just because. There doesn’t always have to be a special occasion; the fact that they’re utterly delicious is reason enough.
These classic cinnamon rolls are given a little twist using coconut sugar and maple syrup as the sweeteners, making these rolls free of refined sugars, but you seriously can’t even tell. I also make these dairy-free/vegan friendly on occasion by using dairy-free butter and almond milk, but regular butter/milk can also be used.
Love these cinnamon rolls? Then check out these super yummy vegan cardamon buns!
Depending on the day and what ingredients I have on hand, I often make a cream cheese glaze to drizzle over the top (recipe included below.) But on days I want that classic cinnabon-like roll, I make a simple vanilla buttercream (shown in the photos) to spread over the hot rolls. It melts into the swirls and makes them sooooo yummy! 😋I use all unsalted butter in this recipe, because butter is one of the only dairy products that doesn’t affect me, but you can use a combo of dairy-free butter/vegetable shortening, if you don’t eat dairy.
These rolls are seriously a must try! They’re simple to make and, by using instant yeast, can even be ready in under an hour! It’s also very easy to prepare the rolls the night before and bake them fresh for breakfast. Just make everything as instructed, but instead of letting them rise for 30 minutes, cover the pan and place into the refrigerator. In the morning, let them sit in a warm place for 30-60 minutes before baking and then bake as instructed. Enjoy!
- 3–4¼ cups (405g–570g) unbleached all-purpose flour, just enough to form a soft dough plus a little more for dusting (can use up to half whole-grain flour—spelt, einkorn, or whole wheat, if you'd like)
- 2¼ teaspoon (.25oz packet) rapid rise or instant yeast
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¾ cup (177ml) warm almond milk or other milk of choice (approximately 110º F)
- ½ cup (118ml) warm water (approximately 110º F)
- ⅓ cup (80ml) avocado oil or other oil
- ¼ cup (60ml) maple syrup, cane sugar, or other sweetener of choice
- ½ cup (113g) softened butter (can use dairy-free)
- ¾ cup (110g) coconut sugar or brown sugar
- 1 heaping tablespoon (9g) cinnamon
- Combine 2 cups of flour, instant yeast, and salt in a mixing bowl. Add warm milk, water, sweetener, and oil, blending until mixture is combined and smooth.
- Knead in extra flour, a little at a time, until it forms a soft dough. Careful not to add too much flour or the rolls will be dry and hard.
- Cover and let dough rest in a warm place for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, combine coconut sugar with cinnamon and set aside.
- Place dough onto a lightly floured surface and roll into a large rectangle.
- Spread softened butter generously over the surface of the dough and top with the cinnamon coconut sugar mixture.
- Beginning at the long edge of the rectangle, tightly roll dough into a log.
- You can use a sharp knife, but I prefer to cut each roll with dental floss, which doesn't flatten them.
- Place a long piece of floss under the middle of the log and criss cross it over to cut the roll in half. (watch the video above for further details)
- Divide each half into six equal portions and place into a greased or parchment lined 13x9 baking dish. (To make the next morning, skip down to the instructions for Overnight Rolls)
- To make rolls immediately: Cover and let rise in a warm place for 30 minutes. Close to the end of the rising time, preheat your oven to 350ºF.
- Overnight Rolls: To make the rolls the next morning, after putting the cut rolls into the pan, cover the pan tightly with tin foil and place into the refrigerator.
- The next morning, take the pan out of the refrigerator and set in a warm place to rise, about 30–60 minutes, or until puffy (they may not take that long if they had risen some overnight.) Once the rolls have risen, preheat the oven to 350ºF.
- Place pan onto the middle rack and bake for 20–25 minutes, just until rolls are lightly golden around the edges and centers are puffed. Don't overbake.
- Remove and let cool slightly before topping with glaze/frosting.
- Blend together cream cheese, softened butter, maple syrup, and vanilla until creamy. Add milk, if needed, to thin the glaze. Drizzle over warm rolls.
- If using the vanilla buttercream recipe, spread onto slightly cooled rolls and serve.